The penalties for a reckless driving conviction can be quite serious and may include jail time, license suspension and a substantial fine, not to mention the stigma of a criminal record.

If you have been charged with reckless driving, it is important to work with an experienced criminal attorney. A Ft. Lauderdale reckless driving lawyer will help present the facts of your case in the most favorable light and help you move toward the best possible resolution.

Statutory Definition

Florida law defines “reckless driving” as one of two situations:

  • “Fleeing a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle”
  • Driving with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”

The first situation may seem straightforward, but there are many instances where a Ft Lauderdale reckless driving can argue that the individual operating a motor vehicle was either unaware of the presence of law enforcement officials or not making an attempt to flee.

In the second situation, it can be difficult to determine just exactly what level of conduct should be considered “willful or wanton.”

Conduct that is “willful” is deliberate or intentional. Courts typically define “wanton” conduct in connection with reckless driving as driving with the knowledge that damage was likely to be done to property or people and still acting with deliberate indifference to the consequences. (See Florida Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases §28.5.)

Penalties for Reckless Driving Offenses

The consequences for a reckless driving conviction are set forth in Section 316.192 of the Florida statutes. Penalties vary depending on whether the offense is a first offense and whether property damage or injury results from the driver’s actions. Some of the penalties that a Ft Lauderdale reckless driving lawyer can help defend against include:

  • For a first offense, the driver may face imprisonment for up to 90 days and a fine of between $25 and $500.
  • For a second or subsequent offense, the driver may face imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of between $50 and $1,000.
  • If the driver’s actions cause property damage or bodily injury to another that is not classified as serious, the crime is treated as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • If the driver’s actions cause serious bodily injury to another, the crime is classified as third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Moreover, if the court suspects the use of alcohol or drugs contributed to the violation, the court may order a substance abuse education course and evaluation.

Contact a Ft Lauderdale Reckless Driving Attorney Today

Reckless driving charges are an area of law where quality legal representation is crucial. If you have been charged with reckless driving, a knowledgeable Ft. Lauderdale reckless driving lawyer can serve as your advocate and help you work toward the most favorable outcome.